Preview: Kansas at Texas Tech

Texas Tech's an extremely average team. Their only defining characteristics are a disinclination to shoot three-pointers (330th in the country in 3PTA/FGA) or turn the ball over (17.7 TO% in all games, 19.6 TO% in at-risk games, 16.9 TO% in Big 12 games). Jarrius Jackson and Martin Zeno play almost all of every game, take 46% of the team's shots, and 58% of the team's free throws. Charlie Burgess is on the court a lot, but he doesn't do much (19.3 PTS/100, 4.3 A/100, 4.2 TO/100, 2.2 S/100, 4.4 OR%, 11.4 DR%). The rest of the minutes are distributed amongst nine players (eight now that Rizvic is injured) according to no rationale that I can determine. I'm guessing Kansas will force Knight to use his bigger guys (Plefka, Dora, and Suljagic) none of whom are actually that big or very good rebounders. It shouldn't be much of a sacrifice, as it's not like Texas Tech's perimeter players do much other than try and stay out of the way of Jackson and Zeno.

KU OFFENSE v. TEXAS TECH DEFENSE

Team eFG% OR% TO% FT Rate FT% PPP
KU off 53.5 37.9 20.8 24.6 66.5 1.11
TT def 49.0 35.6 24.5 29.7 67.2 0.98

Texas Tech's unfortunate combination of poor field goal defense and defensive rebounding should prove a tonic to the Kansas offense.

TEXAS TECH OFFENSE v. KU DEFENSE

Team eFG% OR% TO% FT Rate FT% PPP
TT off 52.3 29.6 17.7 28.3 71.2 1.09
KU def 42.9 30.5 25.6 30.5 64.6 0.85

Texas Tech's reliance on the two-point shot plays right into Kansas's greatest defensive strength (4th in the country in defensive 2PT FG%). For one afternoon, Kansas's recent struggles to force turnovers won't be an issue as Texas Tech isn't likely to cough the ball up in any circumstances.

Aside: To my eyes Kansas didn't force many turnovers against Iowa State and Missouri because Chalmers and Robinson were trying too hard to force turnovers, gambling and letting their men get past them off the dribble. When Kansas's defense is at its best, the Jayhawk guards are forcing turnovers because their opponents have nowhere to go and are forced to dribble in place or attempt passes through narrow or non-existant spaces. I think it's a definite case of players trying harder and unintentionally making themselves less effective.

One potential area of concern is the efficiency with which Jackson and Zeno could score at the free throw line against the frequently foul-prone Jayhawks.

I think Texas Tech's 87-72 loss to Marquette earlier this year in Kansas City serves as a fairly effective guide as to what will happen on Saturday afternoon in Lubbock. I figure Texas Tech will do a better job of controlling the tempo (Marquette got that game up to 75 possessions) and taking care of the ball (24.5 TO%) at home but will find that scoring on the interior is much easier against Barro, Burke, Lott, and Fitzgerald than it is against Kaun, Wright, Arthur, and Jackson.

Prediction: Kansas 74 Texas Tech 60

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